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Bewildering Stories

P.I. Barrington writes about...

Observation One


I’ve read some of Observation One: Singing of Promises by Mike Lloyd and really enjoyed it. It is very well written and delivers some great imagery without being overly descriptive. I am a great believer in less is more in descriptive prose! One gets the setting and characters in a few simple but vivid descriptions that Mike uses well.

I look forward to more of his work.


P.I. Barrington

Copyright © 2007 by P.I. Barrington

Thanks for the nice words about the first of Mike’s novels. You have a lot to look forward to, and it’s ready and waiting for you here at Bewildering Stories and at Bewildering Press.

One sure thing about Toni: he’s always on the move. He has to go to so many places and do so many things at the Domans’ behest in Observation One that he must have the physical conditioning of a marathoner.

But Toni is a tourist’s delight: he takes the time to see plenty of sights along the way, and no reader will begrudge him a stroll along the banks of the Seine or meeting Mike Lloyd in person at a place I’ll let readers discover for themselves.

As for “descriptive prose,” different readers will have different preferences. And those preferences may be culturally conditioned. In 20th-century films — whether made for the big or small screen — fast action has come to predominate.

I’ve seen what may be the effect of film and television in one of my on-line courses. Students have to undertake “Cultural Explorations” on the Internet of some really splendid websites depicting areas of the world where French is the common language. And the students have to describe certain things they see. Very few know how to do that.

I’ve even had to give them a formula: objects have size, shape, color, texture, and purpose. Two or three of those elements go a long way. Without that formula, students might see shapes and purpose, but rarely color, let alone anything else. With that formula in mind, their descriptions make notable improvement.

Today’s prose descriptions tend to be a far cry from the masterpieces in 19th-century novels. And yet even there, the great geniuses like Chateaubriand, Balzac, and Zola always observe one cardinal rule: nothing happens until something moves. Mike applies that rule with a will, and to great success.


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